Stranded on an Undeserted Island

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November 5th 2016
Published: November 5th 2016
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What is it that inspires us to travel? What motivates us to leave our comfortably routine workaday life, cast off the lines and sail toward some unknown horizon? What far-off call beckons so loudly that we can’t quiet it without further investigating its source? How bright does the sunset at the end of the distant road or just over the farthest mountain have to be before we drive towards it in an attempt to make it last just a moment longer?

Perhaps we derive inspiration from colorful words arranged on a page in such a way that our wanderlust is aroused. We simply can’t live without seeing if the vision our mind created matches the scene the author describes. Perhaps the smell or taste of some exotic food carefully prepared in an ancient way by a well-practiced chef inspires us to follow our hunger toward the simmering pot of goodness that waits to be sampled in a faraway kitchen. Perhaps we harbor a secret doubt that the combination of colors captured in a photograph of a rainbow filled sky could actually exist in a distant land just beyond our own?

How intense does our minds creation need to be before we decide to find out if there could be a reality that lives up to our imagination? How vivid do the colors, smells and sounds in our head need to be for us to cast care to the wind and follow that vision, no matter how long it may take to find? What do we need to visualize before we are motivated enough to deviate from our normal path?

What did we imagine?

Did we imagine crowded ferries quickly loading and unloading impatient passengers at busy terminals? Ferries that ride on choppy, aqua water destined for tiny islands with famous names. Islands that appear on horizons as small dots under large, darkening clouds. Larger ferries for cars and fare conscious passengers. Fast moving hydrofoils that carry tourists and those who think time is money. A group of skyscraper teenage models drink espresso and pick at pastries at a large table. Anxious photographers hover nearby, obviously having noticed the clouds that threaten their productivity and pocketbooks. A burning smell of your carelessly prepared panini drifts from the toaster as the indifferent young cook pays more attention to the models than your first food of the day.

Did we imagine being greeted on arrival by a blinding rainstorm so strong that it didn’t seem possible that amount of water could be held in a cloud? Water that seemed to come from every direction, including up. Wind howled hard through nearby sailboat masts creating a dreadful moaning sound that seemed frighteningly human. A race with heavy bags to a nearby fisherman bar filled with a rough cast of characters straight from a Hollywood movie. Enjoying a well-earned beer from the self- serve cooler next to the bar. Listening to the sailors tell stories you knew were bawdy even though you couldn’t understand even one word.

Did we imagine cobbled roads that wind through peeling stucco buildings designed centuries before there were thoughts of modern transportation? Roads designed to carry wares between the two main marinas of the island. Tiny streets filled with pedestrians, scooters and cars competing for space at speeds that don’t feel comfortable to newcomers. The cars with side mirrors turned back or broken off entirely, surely from earlier battles with the well scuffed walls. The sides of the cars show scratches of many colors, no doubt matching a scratch on another car, somewhere else on the island. Feeling like you should be wearing white clothes and red bandanas in Pamplona as you hurry from tiny doorway to doorway to avoid the honking metal bulls. Your fear turns to embarrassment as you hurry past two young mothers with carriages casually having a conversation knowing that the cars have just enough room to pass.

Did we imagine views of secret courtyards behind ornate wrought iron gates with designs of centuries past? Grassy yards behind 10 foot walls that surely keep the road noise at bay. Untended grape vines beneath waxy green trees with lemons so large they could be grapefruit. The fruit has wrinkled skin, thick pith and a sweet taste that is rightfully famous. Developed to keep the islands sailors healthy on long sea journeys of the past. A delicious lemon salad is served in most restaurants and homemade limoncello is popular at any local gathering.

Did we imagine living in a house on the highest point of the island? A terrace that sits above every other building on the island and provides 360 degree views of the entire 4 square kilometers of volcanic land below. Taking in distant views of Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri and Vesuvius as your laundry dries in the warm breeze of a late October afternoon. A nearby church that was founded 1000 years ago by monks and now has beautiful bells that sound perfectly throughout the day. A house that sits inside the oldest settlement on the island, surrounded by ancient walls. Walls built first to protect the religious and the wealthy from far away intruders. Later the walls held prisoners in the classic punishment of seeing all the lights of civilization from behind the bars of your drafty island cell.

Did we imagine strolling along the marina amongst the tiny houses built in a way that no mad architect could ever have imagined? Houses with such a vast pastel palette they appear to rise from the sea like scoops of fruit flavored summer gelato piled one on top of another. Ancient fisherman mending nets in the afternoon sun. A man, perhaps channeling his own Pablo Neruda, writing in a journal while sitting in the dockside inn made famous in the movie “Il Postino”. Stairways climb steeply from the harbor to the church above. Stairs so steep that they take your breath in equal parts from exertion and from witnessing the beauty of the view they provide over the tranquil harbor.

Did we imagine the everyday sunsets and sunrises so intense that it sometimes appeared the sky was on fire? Viewed from the lookout high above Marina Corricella or from the belvedere in Terra Murata the brightly colored clouds made each morning and evening something to look forward to.

Did we imagine the spine jolting bus ride through the narrow streets and up the imposing hill to our walled mountaintop villa? Cursing the rattling and bouncing ride we memorized each bump along the way. Climbing the steep hill to our house twice daily while the bus was being repaired for several days, making trips to the market into grueling, lung busting marches. Being ever thankful and promising never to criticize the bus again as it carried us up the hill after its return from repairs.

It’s difficult to say if our month long journey to our tiny island in a faraway sea lived up to the vision we created in our imagination.
Terra MurataTerra MurataTerra Murata

Fisherman from the Belvedere in Terra Murata
This was never going to be the classic trip to the deserted island in an endless sea that many dream of. Far from that, it was a month spent in a place far from tourism. We lived as locals on a tiny island in the middle of an ancient land far away from our own home. While not everything we imagined, it will still be remembered as more than we should have hoped for.

Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


Marina GrandeMarina Grande
Marina Grande

Fishing Boats
Procida StreetsProcida Streets
Procida Streets

Piazza Martiri

6th November 2016

The power of imagination...
Loved imagining along with you Nanci and David...and your photos in this blog are even more fabulous than normal. Looking forward to your next destination :)
6th November 2016

Being trapped on a tiny speck of land in a beautiful sea gave us plenty of opportunities to use the camera. We enjoyed our time and are on our way soon! Thank you for the nice comments and for following along!
6th November 2016
Procida Sunset

Brilliant choice
On beautiful, little Procida, you lived on top of the island, once inhabited by the wealthy, whereas on popular, pricey Capri, you'd probably have a little cell and be jostling with tourists all day. What a gem this island is, and how fine to have a sense of how others live! Pretty funny that I'd commented on your last blog that in finding Colmar, you had turned lemons into limoncello, and here others did it literally for you. Yum!
6th November 2016
Procida Sunset

Ahhh, a premonition of limoncello in our future! Very good. Perhaps you see our future better than we do! Procida is a nice find, but perhaps it turned out to be a bit difficult to see some of the rest of this lovely area (Sorrento, Positano, Amalfi, etc.). It was still nice to take a month off of touring and just wander the narrow streets aimlessly. Thanks so much for the nice comments and following along, Tara.
7th November 2016

What a gem of a find
You just made me realise I need to do more research before heading off. Procida sounds and looks sensational, and we were at Naples and didn't even knew it existed - damn. We went to Matera imagining what you got in Procida and didn't get it, oh well sometimes travels work well and sometimes it doesn't. As always your words match your photographs superbly.
7th November 2016

Procida is definitely not the tourist center that you described Matera as. However, while very photogenic it is a little limiting (due to the ferry) in terms of seeing other places in this part of Italy. We have enjoyed our time here, but with as many outstanding things as you guys have just seen, I wouldn't worry about missing this one place! Thanks for reading!
7th November 2016
Corricella Sunset

Off terra firma
I think the Corricella Sunset is my favorite pic. The water on both sides of the island and the multi-colored buildings are so inviting. Being that the sun is setting doesn't hurt, either ! You have done some unbelievable traveling with fantastic pictures in places I never heard of. (And I've been to Italy !). How do you get to this island ? Ferry? Where is it located ? By that I mean where off of Italy ? Thanks again for sending such wonderful notes and pics.I've often thought the seaside buildings that are so brightly colored are because there are so many gray days (and foggy) near the ocean.Would you agree after seeing so much of the world ? Please don't quit on your beautiful correspondence. I really enjoy your blogs.
7th November 2016
Corricella Sunset

Off terra firma
Thank you for commenting on the pictures; David really outdid himself! Procida is an hour-long ferry ride from Naples. We can see Capri and Mount Vesuvius from our upstairs patio. We heard that the houses are painted this way so that sailors can pick out their individual homes while coming home from sea. Don't know if there's any truth to the legend, but it's beautiful just the same. Thanks again for commenting!
8th November 2016

Travel is to bring our imaginations to reality...
and be prepared for the surprises that even your imagination hadn't painted. I love your writing and pictures...and the little island you picked to get away from the tourists and see the real Italy.
8th November 2016

Imagine travel...
We agree completely. Nothing compares to travel to spark your imagination. Procida was a nice spot to get away and we enjoyed our month there. Thank you for your nice compliments and for reading, Bob!
10th November 2016

Loved your blog and the stunning pictures! It's amazing how wild our thoughts can be and how far we can go with our imagination and yet we're never truly prepared for what's ahead of us. Looking forward to your next blog. :)
11th November 2016

With the exception of food perhaps, travel is the best thing to realize your imagination. Each month we dream about living in some interesting place and we can actually accomplish that within a short time. Like a new dish you are preparing for the first time, some parts are good and some not so much. But it is always interesting. Thank you for reading and commenting Anna!
13th November 2016

Our only limits are in our mind
You continue to find those hidden gems that we need to take a look at. Experiences, memories, reality vs. imagination....does it matter. Your perception is all that counts. Running from the tourists always gives pleasure.
13th November 2016

We enjoyed our time. The expense of the ferry stranded us a little more than we would have liked. Our plan was to see more of the area but it didn't really work out financially. Means we'll have to head back to the area someday soon. Thanks for reading and commenting, MJ!
13th November 2016
Marina Corricella

Quaint and fantastic
15th November 2016

Wonderful entry!
Your writing is superb. You really make the place come alive. Sounds wonderful.
16th November 2016

Thank you, Heather!

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